Are you thinking of becoming a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) but aren’t sure of all the details? In this article we’ll discuss what this kind of certification is, how you can get one, and what career options are available.
What is a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA)?
Behavior analysts by and large study principles of learning and behavior. Behavior analysts can study a wide variety of subjects, like aging, autism, education, health, behavioral economics, special education, animal behavior, cultural practices, and verbal behavior/language.
Behavior analysts can conduct behavior assessments, analyze data, train others, write and revise behavior-treatment plans, and oversee those treatment plans. Assistant behavior analysts work under the supervision of a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) and usually have more of a supportive role gathering data, maintaining records, etc.
If you are a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA), that simply means that you are an assistant behavior analyst that has been certified by an accredited organization, like the BACB (Behavior Analyst Certification Board). Becoming certified has its own requirements and benefits, as we will discuss.
What Kind of Jobs Can a BCaBA Get?
Behavior analysts and their assistants work in a wide variety of settings. They can be found working with individuals with autism, pervasive developmental disorders, or brain injuries in schools, at in-home care companies, community clinics, and private practices. BCaBAs can be teachers, language pathologists, or social workers. Understanding behavior at the level of an analyst can be used in fields like therapy and counseling, sociology, psychology and political science. Some behavior analysts work in a more scientific setting as well, conducting experiments/studies and collecting data. The possibilities really are endless.
Can Becoming a BCaBA Help Your Career?
Becoming a BCaBA can absolutely help boost your career. Becoming a BCaBA means you’re committed to your job and your field, creating a better reputation for you and your employer. Not only does it look nice on a resume, it can have many other positive outcomes. It can open doors inside the field of behavior analysis, as well as in other careers in similar areas, like teaching, psychology, and laboratory science.
If you become certified as an assistant, it’s only a few more steps to becoming certified as a BCBA, a higher level certification. If you want to eventually become a BCBA, starting off as a certified assistant is the way to go.
How much is a BCaBA’s Salary?
Since BCaBA is a certification that is available to people in many professions, it can be hard to nail down a definitive salary. An average salary for a BCaBA is around $45,000 each year and these salaries are for those primarily employed in educational and scientific jobs. Generally speaking, with a BCaBA you can expect to make a little more than someone in the same job that isn’t certified.
There are other fields that pay more, but require more education and experience as well. For example, psychologists and sociologists, professions that are among those whose members hold BCaBA credentials, make around $80,000.
How do you become a BCaBA?
This certification is an undergraduate-level certification program given by accredited organizations. In order to be considered for it, you must already have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, but it can be in any discipline. In addition to coursework, you must also receive a certain amount of supervised experience in the field under a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst). Applicants must then pass the BCaBA exam.
Some states require assistants to be licensed, while some only certify their assistants. Only 7 states require licensure-Alabama, Kentucky, Maryland, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington. If you live in one of those states, additional requirements may need to be met. If/when you’re ready to become a BCBA, you’ll need a graduate degree, an acceptable amount of graduate coursework hours, and 500 hours as a BCaBA.
Behavior analysis has become an increasingly important career path in recent decades, leading to many different kinds of careers in many different fields, for many different kinds of people. These types of analysts work in a variety of sectors in society. If you’re looking to become a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst, you could be on your way to a brighter future, full of opportunity, science, and education.